A soprano’s childhood dream

For nearly 20 years she has been performing at major opera houses around Europe. She has taken on great roles, and reviews of her performances have often been triumphant. But professional resumes should not be the only standard by which to define artists. Their stance toward their art should also be considered. Sonia Theodoridou showed this important artistic side at a recent press conference held on the occasion of two concerts featuring works by Mikis Theodorakis, held yesterday and today at the Herod Atticus Theater. The prominent soprano was almost tearful when she spoke about her joy over collaborating with Theodorakis for the first time, along with vocalists Zachos Terzakis, Nena Venetsanou, Dimitris Bassis and Lavrentis Maheritsas. «I was 13 or 14 when I saw Mikis for the first time at a concert in my native Veria,» Theodoridou told Kathimerini. «After the concert, my parents, my sister and I all went to his hotel where I spoke with him. I remember being so impressed by him. He was this great, larger-than-life, man.» While Theodoridou went on to build a solid career in opera, Theodorakis remained in her heart, though she never got the chance to work him – until now. She has, however, collaborated with Manos Hadjidakis. «Manos was exuberant and sensuous, while Mikis is about simplicity and loneliness,» Theodoridou said. «The idea of eroticism in Hadjidakis’s work comes through a sense of the baroque, while in Mikis, it comes across through austerity and the idea of epic.» At the Herod Atticus concerts, Theodoridou appears at the finale to interpret parts of the Third Symphony and «Antigone.» The excerpts are combined with other works, both popular or classical. «I enjoy these medleys as long as an artist can bring together different types of music according to the potential of their voice and without making everything sound the same,» she said. Such is the case in opera, she said. «Unfortunately, similarly to popular song, opera is going through a process of industrialization,» Theodoridou said. «It’s all about good looks – a good voice is not a prerequisite. None of this has much to do with real art, however. The role of opera singers is equally misunderstood – the idea of a fragile figure with long nails being offered flowers. Opera singers, at least in my case, are hard-working women facing daily problems. Now that I’ve moved back to Greece permanently, I would like to help in order to promote the idea that opera has to get closer to people; after all opera is aimed at the people, not just the few.»